Which cymbals are better?


Junior Member
I have heard that Sabian AAX's are comparable to Zildjian's A custom cymbals. I use Sabian AAX and love the bright quick response, they project.


Gold Member
> my Sabian XS20's

Good pick. Pound for pound, I think these are the best bargains in cymbals today.
Significantly less than AAs, at very, very good, legit tone.

If they made Thins of XS20s, I'd own more. I think they avoid Thins in a line like this so that they don't have to deal with warranty replacements after a crack. [I don't crack cymbals, so it wouldn't be a concern.]
None of my cymbals I have right now are oof the same brand. I've been playing drums for 4 years and abit, I use a mix of Zildjian, Agean and Sabian. When I first started playing I had Paiste 101's (Still have them on my other kit).

It took me YEARS to find that ride that has a sweet spot and then you crash it and it sounds like a Gong. And that was a Zildjian A Sweet Ride, then I was like "That growling cymbal"
I looked at both, Sabian O-Zones and Zildjian EFX's, then Meinl Soundcaster Trash Crashes came in and I was buffled on what one I wanted. found the Zildjian A Custom EFX to be the harsher cymbal, the sound I wanted and took that. I could've got really good Hi-hats, I used to use Agean Karia Series (Which are like K Hybrids at a cheaper price, also hand hammered) they cracked, and I looked at Sabian XS20 hi-hats, sure, cheapest Cast cymbals in the range, but they have a John Bonham sound and when I mount my Hat-trick it sounds like any John Bonham song.

Loads of people use cheaper cymbals for the sound they want, may be REALLY cheap, but it may be the sound you want (my Sabian XS20's) :)

What to do is try EVERY cymbal in that store, find the right sound you want, THEN cash them out, take people's suggestions, but don't buy the cymbal because someone else loves it


Platinum Member
I find WIDE variation between cymbals of the same manufact./model/size

I suggest calling the store you are thinking of purchasing from and asking if they have a room you can use for shopping(listening) to cymbals where you can set up YOUR bass drum - since the mix of your bass drum and a specific cymbal really define the envelope it will serve most frequently.

Be sure to bring 2 cymbal stands as well to allow easy comparisons.

Dont thrash the cymbal when testing...and offer to clean them when you are done...makes for a good relationship with the staff.

If they dont allow, move on to another store.

Ive found that I can determine the charactaristics Im happy with in a cymbal without having to hear it with my bass, but that took some dedicated time to develop.

You specifically asked about chinas.

Ive seen a large move to using smaller chinas.

While it is easier to control the sound of a small china, the skill you will develop in controlling a large china will translate to all of your drumming - something to think about when choosing.


Platinum Member
My set up includes a Sabian Crash and Ride and Zildjian High hats and crashes and sometimes a ride. I was reading an article in Drumhead magazine where Billy Cobham is asked Sabian or Zildjian and he says he finally came to the realization that for him it is Zildjian and Sabian. in five years, Zildjian is going to buy out Sabian anyway. lol It will be a great family reunion.


Platinum Member
Brand name doesn't mean a whole lot. It really matters which line of the brand you intend on buying. For instance, Zildjian has probably a dozen lines of cymbals alone. You can buy a full set of ZBTs for $200, or you can spend $700 on just one of their top line crash cymbals. People have their preferences based on their tastes. The big change is going from sheet bronze to cast bronze cymbals. I started out with all sheet bronze because that is all I could afford. I'm slowly converting to cast cymbals, but I have to say even some of the sheet bronze cymbals have decent and unique sounds.

It also depends on the type of music you play, whether it be jazz or heavy metal, or anything in between.
There's not really a 'Best Cymbal.' It's all really personal preference... If I was you I would go to your local drum shop and try out every cymbal in the place until you find what works for you! Honestly the most expensive cymbal doesn't always mean it's the best. On my percussion set-up I wanted a really trashy/tingy splash cymbal. I use a A Zildjian 10" splash on my set...but It sounds too crisp. I went and started trying out every splash in my local drum shop and honestly found the sound I was looking for in a ZBT model. It may be cheap as hell...but it's exactly that trashy cheap sound I was looking for. It's ok to take reccomendations...but never buy a cymbal just because someone says it's 'the best cymbal.' Thats the great thing about drumming...it's all about personal preference!


Gold Member
i have moved one of my own threads, cheerios in the morning and i think meinls sound awfully nice...

all you can do is go out and smack every cymbal you can get yer grubby paws on, its all ye can do...


Platinum Member
Do you always eat the same kind of cereal? No, because you like different flavors. The same goes for cymbals. Don't limit yourself. Zildjian makes fantastic instruments, but so do other makers!
The smiley denotes a high degree of tongue-in-cheek to that part of my post. Re-read it and you'll note the sensible approach was thrown out first and I ended with a little joke.....that followed on from Grunter's little joke.

Don't limit yourself to taking me too seriously........sorry again Hank. :)

FWIW....I hate cereal (at least for breakfast....soggy grain in milk? First thing in the morning??....man, my stomache is churning at the very thought!!). However, that doesn't mean your point was lost, it just means I don't care for cereal.......and I don't mind finishing off my posts with some light hearted banter. :)

hank magic

Junior Member
if you're still unsure, then listen to Gruntersdad......sorry Hank. :)
Maybe I'm just biased because I work in a small independent music store and I get to hear all kinds of different cymbals that come in the door. I hear great cymbals by all manufacturers. If I have to prove this I can.

Do you always eat the same kind of cereal? No, because you like different flavors. The same goes for cymbals. Don't limit yourself. Zildjian makes fantastic instruments, but so do other makers!


Gold Member
If you have been playing Pulse cymbals for 8 years, and you have 11 years of playing under your belt, you Deserve better cymbals. In this case, the answer to which are better is: Anything. :)


Administrator - Mayor
There seems to be a lot of members lately that don't place their threads in the proper section.......Bob.

This has to do with the fact that there are 33, 287 members and only 7000 views on the forum rules page.


Senior Member
Thanks for the advice from those who helped. Also the eight years thing, I had my cymbals for eight years, I been playing for 11 years.

Bo Eder

Platinum Member
Then I will consider his current plates as coaxed ;)

The thing I've discovered with cymbals; after a certain price point, you just buy what you like, they all sound good, and with proper technique and care they will last almost forever.

And the funnier thing I've discovered, regardless of how unique and individual it sounds, once it goes under a microphone through a mixing console to be recorded, it'll get eq'd a certain way and it'll sound like all the other cymbals you hear on the radio or on recordings. Take a listen - Neil Peart's signature Sabian cymbals will sound just like the Paistes Jeff Porcaro used on a Toto recording. It's true!


Senior Member
Just 8 years? I've had my current set for almost 20 years now. Are yours broken? Are you sure you coaxed every sound you could ever get out of them? ;)
Well according to one of his above posts he's been playing PULSE cymbals for 8 years. If you have committed yourself to something for 8 years I think that he should get better cymbals than the $40 cymbals he has now

Bo Eder

Platinum Member
After sticking with my cymbals for about eight years, it's time to get new ones. Which would you suggest for the following?

Paiste or Zildijan

Paiste or Sabian?

Paiste or Zildijan or Sabian?
Just 8 years? I've had my current set for almost 20 years now. Are yours broken? Are you sure you coaxed every sound you could ever get out of them? ;)


Silver Member
Depends on sound and budget.

Want something aggressive and mid-priced? Paiste Alpha.

High-end bright cymbals? Sabian AA/AAX.

Jazzy dark high-end cymbals? Zildjian K's.

Don't forget Meinl either, they have some NASTY awesome rides and crashes.